Wednesday, February 22

Big Box Design Services

Many designers in the industry often talk poorly about big box design services, like Home Depot and Lowe's.  While yes, many times you have a store or location where the design services aren't taken seriously, and the staffing isn't supported, but many times these designers are fully capable.  When selecting a designer, or doing your foot work, it is always best to take advantage of the free design services, just to see if what you want is doable.  Here are some tips when looking for any designer, whether it's an independent, or in a large retail chain:

  1. Are they experienced?  Many designers from both backgrounds are experienced.  I would be a little shy if the designer was just put in the position from a cashier or another department, however other designers have been there for 10+ years and are Certified Kitchen and Bath Designers from the NKBA, the same certification program available to independent designers.  
  2. References and Referrals?  If your neighbor has a stunning kitchen designed by an independent designer, and your other neighbor has the bathroom of your dreams, designed by a big box designer, then why not interview and meet with both?  Your relationship with your designer is just as important as their experience.  
  3. Portfolio:  A portfolio is the showcase o the ideas and product the designer can generate.  If you want something "Outside the Box" but your budget can't afford an independent designer, then find a designer in the big box that has that outside of the box thinking, and the portfolio to prove it.  
Remember, many independent designers started out in the big box.  Especially in today's economy, staying put in a retail design setting is much easier for someone than trying to step out on their own and making the transition from employee to small business owner, or making the transition from a guaranteed paycheck to commission only.  Your designer is your friend, no matter where their actual paycheck comes from.